How far is gender equality both possible and desirable in Islam?

An essay about women in Islam

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  • Created on: 31-01-11 15:10
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A2 Religious Studies
How far is gender equality both possible and desirable in Islam?
Gender equality refers to sexes, male and female, having the same amount of rights,
opportunities and respect for each other (equal rights). In Islam this equality is lacking as
men have much control over a women's role, image and behaviour.
This power the men have oppresses Muslim women. To give equal rights would be possible
if there were changes to the Sharia law. Such changes include acceptance of women owning
own possessions, letting them be present around non related males. Allowing women to
become Ulema, and for young muslim women to explore the surroundings as much as
muslim boys do. Then there are bigger issues like enabling women to enforce a divorce just
as easy as men, banning any rights to wife beating and the most popular example of female
Muslim oppression, BAN THE BURKA!
Is gender equality desirable? Of course. We hear many educated female muslims speak of
the unfairness they go through such as Nawal alSaadawi the leading feminist writer,
sociologist and doctor in Egypt. She claimed "Men impose deception on women and punish
them for being deceived, force them down to the lowest level and punish them for falling so
low, bind them in marriage and then chastise them with menial service for life, or insults, or
blows." Even some men argue for gender equality saying Sharia law needs a female
Muslim women living in western societies can feel depressed and alien compared to
independent women who thrive on business success and money making, putting marriage
and children last on their list of priorities. This is where many of the educated feminists are
Some things in Islam are gender equal such as punishments for stealing. Both men and
women have their hands cut off. Though this point infuriates many Muslim feminists because
it is to do with harm not power equality.
More rural societies have women who follow male authority through instinct. They argue that
is Sharia law (word of God and Muhammad) claim it then it must not be questioned. Most
rural Islamic women wouldn't dare stand up against the men as they would be punished and
possibly divorced an example of the lack of gender equality in Islam. Muslim men argue that
these laws have lasted thousands of years so why do must it change now all of a sudden? To
give gender equality would involve pulling out verses from Gods own mouth such as verse
282 of chapter 12 in the Quran, `the evidence of two women is that of one man'. This
passage would also have to lead to changes in Sharia trails and much more.
So could gender equality actually become possible in Islam? It would need something
dramatic to lessen male authority. It would need approval from the Ulema which seems
unlikely as they are all men and men don't want to give up their status as they are nice and
cosy, getting what they wish...power. If they were to give women more rights and delete
verses it would no longer be Islam. It would be something completely different causing the
end of the religion. It would no longer be traditional and no longer God's word. If women
were given the chance to change versus they could manipulate passages interpreting it how
they want it to be interpreted like Saddam Hussein did. Giving a women such privilege and
power could also get out of control, once you give in to one thing they could demand more
Steph Wade

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Therefore men will never give up their
authority. They are scared of the outcome.…read more


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